Evernote keeps all your notes, thoughts and references safe and secure. It allows you to capture pretty much anything digital into it and keep it for yourself, or share it with others.
Collaboration is encouraged through Evernote. In the past I have created shared notebooks to start a business. I am currently sharing notebooks for my work and for writing Do Better With Asana. The ability to have multiple people view and retrieve information, any information, in a single repository is stupidly simple and incredibly powerful at the same time.
So what happens when there is sensitive information that is part of a note in a shared notebook? How can you keep the bulk of that content available to others, while ensuring the rest remains confidential, without destroying the integrity of the content and its surrounding context?
As always, Evernote has you covered. Every note in Evernote, whether it’s part of a shared or private notebook, supports encrypting text. Encrypting text in a note completely hides it from any prying eyes. By encrypting content in a note, the selected text is turned into a button that when clicked will ask the user for a password that will reveal the original text.
This is exactly what we need to encrypt personal information inside shared notebooks.
To encrypt content a note, first select/highlight the content to be hidden. Then click “Edit> Encrypt Selected Text…” from the menu. You will be prompted to enter a password to encrypt the text with as well as a hint to help you remember what that password is. After completing these items, click OK to instantly encrypt the text.
To reveal the encrypted content simply click the button and enter the password. The option to permanently decrypt the content will also be available at this time. Decrypting the content will make it visible to anyone that also has access to the note.
Wait! Before you do anything…
If you are looking to encrypt text in a shared notebook where the note is already shared, it may already be too late. By this point anyone that you are sharing the notebook with will likely have seen or have access to the confidential information. Therefore, it is best practice to encrypt the content before moving the note into the shared notebook. This way the people you are sharing with will only receive the encrypted version. Encrypting content after the note has been shared is still possible. However, other users will only have the content encrypted after they next synchronise with Evernote.
Not everything can be encrypted
So far we have discussed encrypting text content within a note. It is not possible to encrypt images or other documents using Evernote. This would need to be done with external applications such as Zip, Microsoft Office (though that encryption is not terribly secure), or other applications prior to the file being added to Evernote.
Bonus tip: Taking things offline
Evernote is such a versatile tool that many people, myself included, will approach a paperless lifestyle by scanning physical documents into Evernote. This can include sensitive information such as medical records, tax information, passports and birth certificates. Having all this information in one place that can be searched is incredibly useful. How then can it be kept safe?
Not every notebook needs to be synchronised to Evernote. You are able to create notebooks that are “offline”. These notebooks will only ever exist on the computer where they were created. This keeps them from ever making there way to the internet. The drawback for this is that any images and documents will no longer be searchable. It is the Evernote service that actually reads these files and indexes them so that they can be searched.
It is a trade off in every case.
How do you manage secure information in Evernote?